BLOG POST (Module 12): YIMIN HE, What Girls Experience in the Gaming World

TRIGGER WARNING: sexual content.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KECbmNnT7cs

In this YouTube clip, the roles of male and female get swapped so that the guy gamer experiences what a girl gamer often encounters in the gaming world, including getting randomly called a “slut” or “whore”, being asked “what underwear are you wearing”, and receiving other explicit oral abusing. When the male character points out that he has a right to play the game, the girls say they have the right to keep their harassment. Eventually, the guy is upset and says he “will never play a game again”.

Being a female gamer myself, I find this clip really depicts well how uncomfortable a girl often feels in online gaming. What’s more, the clip really reflects the situation where a girl is playing a video game that is conventionally believed to be a “guy’s game” – more often than not, she is the only girl in a waiting lobby and therefore having a hard time defending herself when harassment occurs. In #Gamergate: Here’s why everybody in the video game world is fighting, Van Der Werff writes about the trending hashtag #Gamergate and the fact that female gamers, designers, and journalists are subjected to harassment in the gaming community. This reminds me of another kind of insult that girl gamers often receive online – “go make dinner”. The implication is that the girl doesn’t belong here; she is supposed to be doing housework and cooking for a family. In our lecture, Bonnie Ruberg and Professor Kosnik discussed how Hollywood seems to embrace diversity and tolerate niche market but in the gaming world, this does not seem to be the case. On some gaming forums, I saw people talking about the hostility towards women in online gaming – the assault and sexist jokes get channeled towards girl gamers especially when she is performing better than the males are. Some guys admit they insult girls because “people don’t know how to treat new things”. (bastian, http://forums.atomicmpc.com.au/index.php/topic/51112-women-in-gaming;-a-make-me-a-sandwich-tale/)

1. Did you have similar experiences online, and if so, what was your reaction?

2. What steps could be taken to improve the gaming community? Should change come from the grassroots organization by female gamers and their allies, or in a top-down approach where high-profile community members set good examples?

Thoughts and comments welcome below!

BLOG POST (Module 12) BRENNAN MACLEAN, #Gamergate Wages War on Women & Minorities

In 2014 a movement online known as #Gamergate surfaced inciting fear and hate among its supporters and opponents. “The Gamergaters have some actually interesting concerns, largely driven by the changing face of video game culture. But those concerns have often been warped and drowned out by an army of trolls spewing bile, often at women” wrote Todd VanDerWerff for Vox.com. Central to the concern of the Gamergaters movement are game journalism ethics and a perceived threat of ones “gamer” identity although many scholars and analysts of this movement believe that game journalism ethics has not consistently been what gamergater trolls are pressing to reform.

Bonnie Ruberg explained in our lecture interview with Gail De Kosnik that there has been this gamergater backlash due to growing diversity in the industry from game enthusiasts who happen to be queer, women and/or people of color. As described by Ruberg, I believe in part that this backlash can be understood to be motivated by a sincere perception from “gamers” that their very identity is in jeopardy of annihilation due to the increased innovation by people who don’t fit the stereotypical but also very accurate target demographic of “gamers” that of young, straight, white, and male.  On top of the identity under siege aspect, I assert that “gamers” have privilege. Privilege that is now being challenged attributing to the promulgating of the #Gamergate movement.

According to Gawker, in the United States alone a 70 million strong target demo exists and is cultivated by gaming companies and advertisers. This privileged class of “Gamers” (whether they realize they are privileged or not) have been able to enjoy quite an exclusive product that essentially caters to their precise interests without too much outside perspective from women and/or minorities at least not until 2014 when the controversial movement was sparked. When video projects such as Anita Sarkeesian’s “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games” are made Gamergaters privilege is threatened. Sarkeesian ignited a fierce threat to “gamer” identity by raising awareness and money via Kickstarter to produce a series that focused on video game female characters that fall into tropes that are harmful.

It is this sort of challenging content made by women that triggers vitriol on behalf of the gamergaters. Gamergaters, in response to this threat to their identity and privilege, say that they just simply want to enjoy and play the games without any input from women because once input is there the gamergaters cannot ignore it but only react to it. They express their dissatisfaction with the way they think some women may be inserting their gender equality opinions into gaming as shown in these two posts:

XarcandLozzle

8/29/14 7:22am

“It’s this confusing as FUCK gender equality issue that has so many goddamn variables that there is not a single right answer. I come to this site to see game news and related articles about the gaming world, not to learn how to hate myself for being male and a “GAMER”.”

MitchmanLozzle

8/28/14 9:17pm

“The feminists and their white knights are the aggressors in this battle. For decades video games have been mostly men making games for mostly men and boys. That’s why they’re less appealing to women both to play and to make. Now every gaming website had suddenly decided that makes us all sexists. We’re terrible people. I do not sympathize with the people who’ve responded to these accusations with rage, but I don’t think you people sitting on your high horses and slandering those of us who don’t share your political views get off the hook. Accusations of sexism, racism, and “homophobia” are the gravest one can make in our society, and feminists throw them around like confetti at a parade.”

The gamergaters here appear to react to perceived threats to their identity and privilege by women, LGBTQ, and people of color by playing a victim role whose very existence is at stake.

  1. David Auerbach believes that by employing Gamergate moderates, the movement membership could be on the decline. Do you agree with this tactic? Or do you believe the end of Gamergate needs a different approach?
  2. De Kosnik mentioned Hollywood and similar media landscapes as more tolerant to diversity and innovation when it comes to LGBTQ, people of color and women making content about these demographics. Why do you think the gaming industry and gamergaters in particular have been more slow in welcoming the above mentioned demo into the community?
  3. Where do you personally position yourself in this controversy? Pro Gamergate or Anti Gamergate? Why?

Comments and Questions Welcome Below. Thank you.

BLOG POST (Module 12): REZA REZAIAN, Misogyny and Female Oppression in Gaming

Gaming in the United States for 2016 toppled $30 billion in revenue which surpassed revenues generated by the music and movie industries combined.  In 2016 women contributed to roughly 42% of the gamer population and continue to close the gap on men. Grand Theft Auto is an open world game whose first version was released in 1997.  The targeted demographic for this violent misogynistic title is the straight white male. Please watch the segment in the following clip from 2:08 to 4:04.

TRIGGER WARNING: violence, sexual content.

As Scalzi puts it, “In the role playing game known as The Real World, ‘Straight White Male’ is the lowest difficulty setting there is.” Blockbuster titles such as GTA and Watch Dogs are geared towards males where violence against females is integrated into the gameplay. In the 2016 title, Watch Dogs 2, female non player characters would reveal their genitalia when attacked. You can find an article about the Watch Dogs controversy here:

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-38003133

Many blockbuster titles have been condescending towards females and it shouldn’t be a surprise that hate crimes associated with #gamergate have trickled throughout the gaming community. According to Lisa Nakamura, “Though some of his thousands of readers may have violently disagreed with him, Scalzi was read and taken seriously. When a woman of color gamer like Aisha Tyler appears in public to talk about games, she is not taken seriously. She has to defend her credibility as a gamer, something that Scalzi is not asked to do.” Being a straight white male, Scalzi has predetermined ‘gaming points’ that boost his acceptance and accountability into the gamer community. Due to the depiction of females in the recent history of video games, it doesn’t come as a surprise that a minority woman in the gaming industry has to fight an uphill battle.

Please share your thoughts regarding females and the gaming community. Your comments are greatly appreciated!

Questions:

Is it okay to have games that condone misogyny, such as Grand Theft Auto?

Should the sale of titles that elicit violence against females be more closely regulated?

Is there a fine line between acceptable and unacceptable content in video games?

BLOG POST (Module 12): Difficulty settings in life as claimed by John Scalzi.

Please watch from 1:40 and on.

In this episode of Mad Men, inequality of the sexes may not seem as apparent in the clip, but it still shows how the straight white male can take credit for things people considered to be the “harder difficulty setting” came up with.

The clip shows that she has been working hard at her job for two years and has not been able to climb up the ladder at her job, while the men are able to take advantage of their privilege and be in charge of everyone.

In John Scalzi’s “Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty There Is”, he tries to make white men with privilege understand the difficulty setting people go through if they are not straight white men. In the clip from Mad Men, Don essentially tells Peggy that if she worked harder she would be more successful and her ideas would not be taken by the company she works for.

Not only does the woman character have the image that if only she worked harder she would make it, but she also has to back up her credibility no matter how good she is at her job. Where men are not asked about their achievements and it is already assumed that they are good at what they do.

This is not only in television, but is true in real life especially women in tech. Women in the science field have to prove themselves to others where men do not need to prove their achievements in order to see if they are qualified.

Questions:

What game difficulty would you consider yourself to be in?

If you could change the difficulty setting of the game of life, would you be the gamer that wants to be challenged or would you want to play on the easiest setting? Why?

Can you think of an example that portrays this inequality among just men? And/or just among women?

BLOG Post (Module 11): Saif Umemoto, “Identity in Social Media”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O01vYbzUQ9A (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Watch (055 – 3:55)

In Sarah Florini’s piece, she mentions that “Black users often perform their identities through displays of cultural competence and knowledge.” One method of this display is conveyed through the use of “signifyin’ which, adopts adept word play and linguistics as means to showcase racial identity.  While Florini’s piece predominantly focuses on “Black Twitter” or rather, the manifestation of Black culture on social media, this blog post investigates the usage of similar linguistic play within other racial minorities – more specifically Asian Americans.  To set this context, the link provided features a user generated video on YouTube by the channel FUNG BROS which showcases content on various topics concerning Asian American archetypes.  The specific video highlighted, titled “Asian American Slang!”, attempts to shed light on what the producers claim are a few common Asian American linguistic quirks. Many of the terms introduced throughout the course of the video, for example “FOB”/“Fresh Off the Boat” or “KPOP/JPOP”, possess descriptive value particularly targeted to capture experiences relevant to Asian American communities.

In Professor De Kosnik’s interview and discourse with Keith Feldman, it was described that Jeff Yang mentions Asian Americans to be extremely prolific users of social media i.e. 1 in 5 Asian Americans are participants on twitter.  Yang posits several reasons as to why this respective trend is observed.  The first of such is paraphrased by Professor De Kosnik through the following quote “Asian Americans are overrepresented in fields like the tech industry and in general white collar jobs that rely on computer networks.”.  Secondly, the “diasporic” nature of  Asian American groups exposes the collective demographic to the common use of social media as outlets for communication.  Thirdly, Professor De Kosnik also mentions that Yang premises the under representation of Asian Americans in conventional mainstream media outlets as a catalyst for massive adoption of social media as a “mainstream” media source. 

Questions:

Given Yang’s premise on the prominent use of social media amongst Asian Americans, how can slang be utilized as a form of cultural/ethnic identification between Asian Americans within social media communities? Feel free to share examples that you may have observed, particularly hashtags.

What are some other minority ethnic groups, if any, you have witnessed to use linguistic play or slang as means to showcase “online” identity?

Do you believe that such displays of “cultural competence and knowledge” like “signifyin” on social media is always a sure method of interpreting an individuals identity, or is it subject to ambiguity?

Blog Post (Module 11): Folahan Amudipe, The Power of Black Twitter #Hashtags

Black Twitter is the modern and digital epicenter of Black Discussion. Its a transparent place of discussion that usually takes place is real life Black communities (i.e: The Hair salon, barbershop, churches etc) The Black Experience is vocalized through Black Twitter, in which black folks have successfully appropriated. Black Twitter has many aspects, from tweets, to hashtags, to memes. It’s a non-stop engagement of discussion, meaning someone is always tapped in somewhere somehow.

Being a heavy twitter user and a black woman myself, I’m heavily engaged in twitter usage. In being so, it allows me to see firsthand, for example, the use of hashtags, often seen in trending topics.

Sharma states that Twitter has become the real time of the digital media landscape, because of the precipitous speed. Let’s wind back to 2013’s #BlackLivesMatter. Social Media Activism, in particular, Black Twitter’s activism has changed the use activism all together. Giving a new wave and upper hand in informing and mobilizing people by masses in milliseconds.   As it gains attention at such a fast moving pace, the sharing of these videos, pictures, and other visionary articles truly convey a  much larger narrative. Narratives that have an ability to communicate and enthuse emotional responses, catalyze, and mobilize African-Americans and their allies to evoke a louder and more apparent voice, changing the way we think about activism forever.  “Its important to recognize black Twitter, because the black American uses of the digital technologies would be invisible”. A lot of black people who die at the hands of police wouldn’t have reached mass media if not for things like this hashtag and Black people pushing adamantly for it, thus interrupting the whiteness of the Twitter Network. (Sharma)

Although Hashtags can be political, Black Twitter finds ways to make it humorous. In many ways, black humor is often only relatable to black folks in a way no one else would understand.  #AskRachel was a popular one that surfaced after the exposure of Rachel Dolezal “trans-racial” claims as an act of trying to appropriate a Black Identity. In short, #AskRachel acted as an authencity check. Being Black American, “…growing up in a Black home, having Black aunties, going to a Black cookout — is sometimes as simple as asking whether your life has been touched by the gospel of Mary J. Blige and her dancery ” (Hunter Harris). Similar to Florini’s signifying, hashtags promotes a deeply connected fostered group solidarity in Black American communities. This game of dissing or “the diss” as Florini calls it, in this example, invites other to act in creative performance to participate in what it means to be Black or their own black experience by also simultaneously discrediting Rachel Dolezal.

Screen Shot 2017-07-24 at 1.17.27 AM

Black humor has found a home in Black Twitter as a place of solace and revolutionary insurgency and resistance by proclaiming a different, more accurate representation of Blackness that media fails to do. “…these gags and references are centralized makes a new home for narratives that otherwise feel solitary in a whitewashed world” (Hunter Harris).

Questions:

  1. What’s your favorite hashtag and why?
  2. In what ways can the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag pose a trouble for activism?
  3. Can you think of a different way signifying is connected to Black Twitter?

BLOG POST (Module 11) SO YEON HWANG, #NotYourAsianSidekick

I have never been a big fan of Twitter, or maybe I just have never fully understood the power it can hold.

Hashtags have become the movement of the Internet, and one movement that has intrigued me recently is the #NotYourAsianSideKick. This hashtag shows and allows people to speak their mind against the Asian woman stereotype. This hashtag is specifically geared towards Asian American feminism.

The #NotYourAsianSideKick, is an ideal that opposes the Asian American woman stereotype. This stereotype has multiple layers.

The stereotype that surrounds this movement, as stated by Suey Park, is that Asian American women have to be either pretty or intelligent – putting all Asian American women in a box.

I didn’t see this stereotype before this, and now looking at Hollywood movies, you can see most Asian American women playing their stereotypical roles – either the intelligent woman or the sexual woman. They were hardly ever the lead. This kind of media depiction perpetuates this stereotype, and I believe that is what Suey Park is trying to start a conversation about. Below, is just one example of this Asian woman side kick, mentality.

Master Mind, the game from 1970’s. Came in a box with Asian hottie sidekick. #notyourasiansidekick @suey_parkpic.twitter.com/NQfaa2dQRp

— the oranckay (@oranckay) May 14, 2014

In this clip, BBC Trending presenter Anne-Marie Tomchak explains the story behind the hashtag #NotYourAsianSidekick. It has sparked a debate about feminism. racism, mental health, and eating disorders.

Suey Park is the one who started this hashtag, in hopes to start the conversation about the stereotypical Asian American woman and the token ways that they are depicted in our media. Park mentioned, that the creation of the #NotYourAsianSideKick hash tag, was meant to a feminist base, without having to come outright saying “feminist” statements, but instead keeping this conversation going by using the hashtag as a shield.

I think this is a great way to talk about stereotypes and a great way to create bigger conversations. I would like to give a huge shout out to Suey Park for creating a new platform for the Asian American voices that maybe were silenced in the past and for giving a platform for people to talk about the painful and discriminatory ideas perpetuated by our society.

Anyone should be able to use this hashtag on social media, to not only talk about this discrimination and stereotype perpetuation but to also show support for those who are experiencing this struggle. If someone is not sure how someone else is reacting to these prejudices, the next best thing is to show support; and let your counterparts know that their issue is cared about and that we all want to make a change.

Questions:

  1. How do you feel about this hashtag and the movement?
  2. Can you think of any hashtag related to gender, race, and class or with discrimination and stereotype?
  3. How are race and ethnicity performed, enacted, and represented on social media?

 

 

Related Reading

Suey Park and Eunsong Kim, “Hashtags as Decolonial Projects with Radical Origins”

BLOG POST (Module 11): SHIV PATEL, SJWs on Social Media

WARNING (Explicit Content)

The clip above shows a comedian with a puppet dog character called Triumph speaking to a college social justice club about the concept of political correctness. In the video Triumph makes jokes about of the potential flaws of being overly politically correct.

 

To me he concept of political correctness sounds good in theory, but can easily fail or have adverse affects in its execution. If people never publicly called out other people who actually made offensive or racist remarks, then that person wouldn’t be aware of his mistake and everyone else who saw that person’s comment would assume it was okay. However, this can also lead to a social justice warrior beginning to find issues in literally every statement made by someone. At this point Social Justice Warriors can begin to threaten people’s free speech or begin to see anyone who isn’t one of them as a racist/misogynistic/homophobic monster. In my opinion, at this point Social Justice Warriors become the same thing they criticized. It is not completely unheard of to see Social Justice Warriors talking down to someone just for being a white male.

 

One of the real dangers of having too “bad apples” in the Social Justice movement, is that they can discredit even the valid political correctness call outs. People may associate anything related to political correctness as unnecessary and over-the-top. Even the term Social Justice Warrior has become a negative label for someone calling someone out for being politically incorrect. Not only does this discredit the entire movement, but it can also hurt the groups the Social Justice Warriors are defending. Many Social Justice Warriors are college students where it is not uncommon to be in their college’s bubble. In that bubble perhaps the students believe they have made an impact by simply calling people out, but they may be completely unaware about the overall affect of their actions on the minorities who live in a completely different situation. Another issue is that perhaps the Social Justice Warriors have succeeded in stifling politically incorrect comments in their bubble, but there is no guarantee that people’s personal mindsets have actually changed. Perhaps people not being allowed to speak their minds can cause them to inadvertently resent both the political correctness movement and the minority groups defended.

 

Questions:

  • At what point does the “call out” culture of Social Justice Warriors become detrimental, or do you believe it can only be beneficial?
  • How do you think the minority groups that Social Justice Warriors are attempting to defend are affected by an excess of political correctness done by the Social Justice Warriors?
  • Do you think political correctness is simply a performance meant to raise the social status of the Social Justice Warrior?
  • How is free speech related to all of this?

BLOG POST (Module 11): SUJUDE DALIEH, “Effectiveness of Blacktags: An Accumulation of Comedians”

Black Twitter is a phenomenon. From purely political to cultural, it is a subsphere of social media that is multifaceted, to say the least. The racialization of certain media types has recently been discovered with Black Twitter on the forefront.

Roy Wood Jr., a comedian on the satirical news show The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, explains this Twittersphere a little more on his segment- What is Black Twitter?. (Watch from 55 to 3:55)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcSh2F8e__8  

In this clip, Wood references a couple of recent “blacktags”. This includes #OscarsSoWhite, #BlackLivesMatter, #BringBackOurGirls, and #Ferguson. Wood follows with saying “movements that once took weeks to mobilize can come together in mere hours”. He also comments on the effects of these hashtags, referencing that in one year, the Oscars have gotten blacker. Connecting back to Sanjay Sharma’s claim in Black Twitter?, Sharma writes “blacktags have the capacity to interrupt the whiteness of the Twitter network”. Sharma equates blacktags to “radical online anti-racist practice”. Believing the rise of the blacktag has had effects on the progressiveness of the left, network news has now included segments and even new work positions to keep up with how Twitter is “reporting”. By creating their own forum for discourse and in a sense exclusivity, I have fallen into agreement with one of Jamilah Lemieux’s last statements in the clip: Twitter has been successfully appropriated by Black culture.

Not all Black people use Twitter and of course, not all Black people on Twitter tweet, share, follow the same way. According to Brock in From the Blackhand Side, 25% of Blacks online are Twitter users. This subset of a minority is set out to become a monolith in the eyes of research and other media. Elon James White comments on the harms of this in the above clip but includes that the sub niche Twitter Spheres under the Black Twitter umbrella reconcile this. For access into this umbrella what many people find exclusive, comedian James Davis addresses this in his famous opener stating “if you do not know what Black Twitter is, you have no Black friends.”

A short interview clip is linked here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmQZeYBX5r0 where he equates hesitance to “find” Black Twitter for White people to a “friend in the hood [asking] what would I do at a golf course?” He includes that both questions show how “we assume that something is farther away from us than it is”. This adds insight to an overall problem within America, and a problem to address on Twitter. Many do not know that to widen the conversation and inform those outside the Black community the injustices this community face, all one must do is just click follow on one involved to enter the realm of SJWs and political content creators.

Black Twitter has a lot of faces so any thoughts or comments are welcome below and are greatly appreciated!

Questions:

Other than the whiteness of the Twitter network, what else do blacktags interrupt?

What have been your experiences with hashtag activism and can you name a few more movements you believe would not exist without the use of Twitter?

Do you think there are more effective ways than Twitter to start movements or to be a social justice warrior? If so, which methods and how?

Do you believe the separation of Black Twitter and mainstream trends is reflective on any other societal problems?

Related Readings:

Sanjay Sharma, Black Twitter?

Brock, From the Blackhand Side

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